Pilot program aims to reduce congestion at hospital emergency departments

Pilot: Lindsay Stewart has put forward a plan for a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion at hospital accident and emergency departments. Photo: supplied

Pilot: Lindsay Stewart has put forward a plan for a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion at hospital accident and emergency departments. Photo: supplied

A business that provides after-hours GP services to your home and 24 hour telephone/videolink health services is putting a case forward to conduct an Australia-wide pilot program. 

Call My Doctor says it has approached the NSW state government health minister Brad Hazzard to discuss its plan.

Managing director Lindsay Stewart says the pilot, if accepted and implemented, would ease congestion on hospital accident and emergency departments immediately and help free up GP wait times.

Mr Stewart visited Port Macquarie during a recent visit to the Mid-North Coast. He visited nursing homes/retirement villages, hospitals, GPs and spoke with local parliamentarians during his visit.

"Being in the after hours GP service field, we are continually trying to cut non-life threatening presentations to hospital Accident and Emergency Departments," Mr Stewart said.

"Our proposal would target the 300 to 400 people who are regular to their local A & E Departments.

"The target group would use a computer or phone to contact our doctors if they have a non-life threatening ailment. They would speak with a GP, get their scripts organised and delivered.”

"As a nation, we have been taught to go to the hospital's accident and emergency but it is now becoming more like a medical centre. If accepted fully, our proposal could save the government millions of dollars."

Mr Stewart said the Call My Doctor proposal would see the a pilot program in operation for six-twelve months where data would be collected to enforce the cost savings of the service

He said state governments were all trying to find solutions to the common problem of reducing presentations in patients presenting with non-life threatening complaints to hospitals.

According to figures supplied by Mr Stewart, in 2016/17 there were 34,897 patients with semi urgent presentations (who required treatment within 60 minutes) who presented to Port Macquarie Base Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.

During the same period, there were 1934 non-urgent presentations (treatment recommended within 120 minutes) who presented to Emergency.

Call My Doctor operates nationwide.

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